Professional and amateur athletes routinely flock to Monterey County for prestigious athletic events like the Big Sur Marathon, Sea Otter Classic, Spartan Race and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon. Most of these sports enthusiasts indulge in a strategy known as "carbo-loading" the night before a competition or race for optimal endurance and performance.

Luckily there are a plethora of eateries offering some of the best tasting carbs around. Below are a few local restaurants serving up dishes for those looking to gain a competitive advantage.

Gusto Handcrafted Pasta & Pizza

Tucked along Fremont Street in Seaside lays a carbo-loader's paradise. The authentic Italian eatery is stocked full of delicious carbohydrates with an array of artisanal breads, wood-fired pizzas, and handcrafted pastas. The mushroom ravioli in particular does not disappoint with its creamy gorgonzola sauce and accompanied walnuts for an additional crunch. Be sure to treat yourself to a delightful cannoli for dessert, don't worry, you'll burn it off tomorrow.

Carmel Bakery

For a quick dose of energy, pick up a delectable pastry (or two) at Carmel Bakery on Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Here you can get all sorts of baked goodies including Scottish shortbreads, English scones, Italian biscotti and giant soft Bavarian pretzels. For an extra jolt pair your treat with one of their specialty coffees.

Ho-Wah Chinese

For a Chinese spin on carbs head to Ho-Wah Chinese Authentic Restaurant in Marina. Here you will find all sorts of rice concoctions including their traditional steamed rice and fried rice specials like pineapple, BBQ pork and shrimp varieties. Their traditional chow meins and noodle soups are also irresistible and vital for revving up your endurance levels well into the next 24 hours.

Peter B's Brewpub

If you prefer to get your carbs from a fried source then Peter B's Brewpub's tasty bar menu is sure to curb your craving. Start off with the chili cheese fries complete with their homemade buffalo chili or their jumbo Bavarian pretzel served with warm cheese sauce. Don't forget to order up their famous Monterey Bay calamari or fish n' chips!

Favaloro's Big Night Bistro

Enjoy the flavors of Italy in the heart of Pacific Grove. Favaloro's brings favorites like veal scallopini, cannelloni and the gnocchi gorgonzola in particular hold quite the punch with light and fluffy potato pillows in a creamy gorgonzola sauce and sprinkled with bread crumbs; now that is sure to keep your motor running!

El Torito

Bask in the view of the Monterey Bay while dining on authentically delicious Mexican fare at El Torito on Cannery Row. The roasted pasilla chile cheese quesadilla and "no bull" nachos are just the beginning to their carb-laden offerings. For a heaping helping of carbs order their street tacos served with frijoles de la olla and rice.